Peasant leader Ariel Diaz of DAGAMI-KMP Delfin Albano, Isabela will be buried today, September 12. As an organizer of farm workers under UMA, he recently attended the National Sugar Workers Summit held in Quezon City last August 30-31. Justice for Ka Ariel and all victims of political killings!
Agriworkers Condemn Killing of Organizer in Isabela
The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) condemns the killing of peasant leader Ariel Diaz, by three unidentified armed men in his farm in Villa Pereda, Delfin Albano, Isabela.
His killing comes a few days after the massacre of four farmers inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Barangay San Isidro, Laur town in Nueva Ecija on September 3, 2016.
“We condemn the killing of Diaz as a brutal but cowardly act done to silence our farmers. The killings come at a time when peace talks and the necessary socio-economic reforms such as land reform and labor issues are being discussed by the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF),” observed Danilo Ramos, UMA Secretary General.
Diaz is the chairperson of DAGAMI, the local chapter of the militant peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Delfin Albano town, and the Inter-municipal Peasant Alliance Against Foreign Landgrabbing in Northern Isabela. Diaz is also part of the UMA organizing team in the said area.
According to the local UMA chapter in Isabela province, Diaz is active in various campaigns to expose big land issues in the province. The cases involve vast sugar and cassava plantations, so-called rebel returnee settlement sites and the encroachment of a German solar power firm.
One of the biggest problems in Isabela is massive contract growing being imposed on farmers by bio-ethanol giant Green Future Innovations – Ecofuel Land Development Inc.
Ramos stated that the killings of five peasants in less than a week, and the earlier series of arrests of peasant leaders and advocates such as rural missionary Amelia Pond, appears to spoil the GRP-NDF peace talks, and may be the handiwork of those opposed to resolving the decades-long civil war in the country.
UMA however urged the parties to be even more determined to address and resolve the root causes of the armed conflict and violent incidents which led to the killing of Diaz and other victims of rights violations. “We demand justice for Diaz and all victims of political repression,” said Ramos.